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Sudha Bharadwaj likely to be released from jail today

🔴 The conditions set by the court to release Sudha Bharadwaj on bail include that she will reside in the jurisdiction of the court in Mumbai and will not leave the city without permission of the court.

Written by Sadaf Modak | New Delhi |
Updated: December 9, 2021 6:05:14 am
Sudha Bharadwaj. (Express File Photo by Amit Chakravarty)

Lawyer and activist Sudha Bharadwaj, arrested over three years and three months ago in the Elgaar Parishad case, is likely to be released from Byculla women’s jail on Thursday.

On Wednesday, a day after the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) against her default bail granted by the Bombay High Court last week, Bharadwaj was produced before a special NIA court in Mumbai.

Special Judge Dinesh E Kothalikar allowed Bharadwaj’s release on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 while granting her three months to submit sureties. The court imposed 16 conditions on Bharadwaj, including that she shall reside within the jurisdiction of the court in Mumbai.

Saying that she is a practising lawyer in the Chhattisgarh High Court, Bharadwaj’s lawyer Yug Mohit Chaudhry requested the court to allow her to move between Mumbai, Chhattisgarh and Haryana, where she resides. The plea submitted on behalf of Bharadwaj also said she did not have a residence in Maharashtra.

“We all have to work for a living, she also has to work. She is a practising lawyer,” Chaudhry told the court.

Special public prosecutor Prakash Shetty opposed this stating that while there was no apprehension that Bharadwaj would abscond, there could be tampering of evidence. Shetty also said that she could practise in the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court. The court said that considering the serious allegations against her, the leniency sought cannot be shown. It relied on the conditions set by the High Court in granting interim medical bail to Bharadwaj’s co-accused, Telugu poet Varavara Rao, in February. It directed her to reside within the city and seek the court’s permission before leaving Mumbai.

The court also directed her to immediately inform it and the NIA about her place of residence in Mumbai, her contact numbers and those of relatives residing with her. The court also directed her to submit detailed residential and work addresses of at least three of her “blood relatives”. Bharadwaj told the court that she only has a daughter. Her daughter was permitted  to speak to Bharadwaj after the hearing.

The court also directed Bharadwaj to not make any statement regarding the court proceedings in any form of media. Her lawyer Chaudhry opposed this condition, saying the court should not stifle her fundamental rights. The court said that the condition was only related to the case. Chaudhry opposed the condition stating that she should be allowed to write even about this case.

The other conditions imposed on Bharadwaj include that she shall “not indulge in any activity similar to the activities” on the basis of which the FIR was filed against her in this case.

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